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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 211 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

THE BEST CAR I EVER OWNED

By on Sunday, July 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,121

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "FUEL MILEAGE, FUN TO DRIVE"

Cons: "NONE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I DRIVE 104 MILES A DAY, THIS CAR GETS THE BEST FUEL MILEAGE, IT AVERAGES 48 TO 53 MILES PER GAL EVERY DAY, I FILL UP ONCE A WEEK WITH AROUND 12 GAL OF DIESEL AND DRIVE UNTILL NEXT WEEK I BOUGHT THE TOP OF THE LINE JETTA,IT HAS A FENDER SOUND SYSTEM, I CANT SAY ENOUGH ABOUT HOW NICE THIS CAR IS,LOTS OF POWER, I WILL BUY ANOTHER WHEN THIS ONES WEARS OUT , IT WILL BE AWHILE"

Very good car, still room for improvements

By on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "good solid car for the money"

Cons: "road noise and bumps"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I basically love my Jetta, in spite of its flaws. On the positive side, it feels solid and is roomy and comfortable. My model doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but there are enough for me. I have had zero problems with this car. It handles well enough for me in my daily driving, but can be a little rough going over a bumpy road. My main complaint is the road noise. Also, those black leatherette seats get hot as fire in the summertime. They've taken some mistreatment (spills, mud) but clean up easily and still look great. However, I highly recommend getting some kind of seat covers or cushions since they can toast your bootie when you get in after the car has been sitting in the FL sun for a while."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great Commuter

By on Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "MPG, Fun to drive, Solid, Safe"

Cons: "Infotainment, Poor interior quality, Road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have had this car for 10 months and drive approx 100 miles per day. The car drives great and the turbo makes a huge difference on the highway when passing. I have been a little disappointed with the interior quality. VW chosen to replace a lot of the soft touch materials I had in my 08 Jetta and replaced them with lower quality hard touch plastics. The car feels cheaper on the inside than previous VWs I have owned. On the plus side this is the best driving Jetta I have owned and I get great gas mileage. I have average 34 in mixed driving and have hit 40+ on the highway. The seats are comfortable but I do begin to notice some firmness after an hour of driving. The car handles great and for the price I have not found a better driving car. The car could use a better bluetooth system and better sound system."

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "big trunk and backseat, heated leather seats"

Cons: "no sunroof and no automatic headlights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have had Hyundai, Acuras, Volvos and Lexus before this and I am very happy with this car. I will be buying VW from now on. It is a fun car to drive and big. We have 2 little children and no problem on back seat. The trunk is huge took all our stuff to beach trip with no problem. The pickup is great on the 2.5 5 Cylinder engine. I wish I had the sunroof and automatic headlights on my SE but that is all that is missing"

Unexplainable repairs always needed

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, good sound system"

Cons: "Endless ridiculous repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bought a 2011 VW Jetta SE sedan in November 2012. It had roughly 12,000 miles. Within weeks, service lights went off periodically. The tire light went off, the check engine/get service lights went off. The horn stopped working and needed to be replaced. Then, the driver's side door handle simply failed to work. The door would not open. When I finally opened it, the door would not latch closed again. In addition, when it hit any temperature below 32 degrees F, the doors would freeze shut (no precipitation necessary). I would eventually get a rear door open and have to crawl through the vehicle to get into the driver's seat. Then, my radio mysteriously stopped working. I had to take this car to the dealer a number of times to fix ridiculous problems like this. It has been a continuous disappointment. This car is HORRENDOUS in the snow. The worst ever. Outside of those issues, it has Bluetooth, heated seats, good pickup, and a good sound system. The controls to the music and phone are on the wheel, which makes for safe, hands-free driving. The car has good leg room in the front and good back support. Unfortunately, the random repairs far outweigh the benefits of my nearly-new VW Jetta. I am looking to trade it in ASAP."

15 people out of 28 found this review helpful

My Jetta changed my way of thinking

By on Monday, June 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great car for a good value TDI has amazing mileage"

Cons: "missing auto temperature setting"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Jetta for the impressive mileage and have almost always had better gas mileage than the sticker suggested. The ride is very comfortable for the long trips, we drive everywhere, and still enjoyable. The navigation system is out of date and can only be updated through VW which is not good. And I wish it had an automatic temperature setting inside, my wife's Subaru has this. But other than those minor things this is the best car I have ever owned and I will continue to support VW for many years."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?